Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Human Side of Poor Key Control

Man with head in hands
Would you want to be known as the organization that allowed a thief to pilfer the property with a master key? What would you say to the media if someone stole a vehicle from your organization and used that vehicle in another crime? How would you rebuild trust with customers if an employee abused their key access to steal someone’s personal information or assets? How long would it take you to recoup profits lost from reputation damage?

There are real business consequences to poor key control. But what you might not have thought about is how misuse of keys and other assets negatively affects people’s personal lives — perhaps even your own or your loved ones’ lives.

For example, lost or stolen keys waste employees’ time and inconvenience customers who have entrusted their personal property to your business. In extreme situations, mismanaging keys can even put lives at risk, such as if an intruder steals an apartment key and hurts a resident or if a thief is involved in a fatal accident while driving a vehicle stolen from a dealership.

That’s why it’s vital for your organization to secure keys and reduce security vulnerabilities. Let’s take a closer look at how poor key control impacts employees, customers, and the community.

Employees


As mentioned earlier, when keys are lost, employees are forced to spend time dealing with interrupted operations, rekeying, and more. If unsecured keys are stolen, that can spell additional trouble for staff.

For example, after a car was stolen from a repair shop in Michigan, employees were concerned that  insurance costs would increase and the repair shop would lose credibility, hurting employees’ ability to provide for their families. At a Georgia prison, mishandled keys endangered corrections officers (COs) by enabling an inmate to swipe a key and open other inmates’ cells.

Customers


Customers and stakeholders also face the consequences of poor key control. In the automotive industry, there are plenty of horror stories involving customers whose cars were stolen while they were being serviced. After one man’s vehicle disappeared from the service drive, management told the customer that if they couldn’t locate the vehicle, the customer would be stuck replacing it himself.

Just as mishandled keys in a dealership’s service drive leave customers’ vehicles at risk, improperly secured and tracked keys at multifamily communities, assisted living facilities, and college dorms leave people's homes vulnerable.

If keys aren’t stored in a secure location with proper checkout methods in place, employees, vendors, or burglars can use these keys to enter a resident's home without authorization. There are countless headlines about intruders stealing cash, prescription medications, or other personal items. Although less common, there have also been cases of violent crimes against residents.

Additionally, ineffective key management can expose customers to data breaches and identity theft if employees abuse their key access to obtain devices holding confidential data. That was the case at a medical facility where a former IT employee stole a hard drive containing sensitive customer information and sold it online.

The Community


In some cases, the effects of unsecured keys can extend beyond employees and customers to the broader community.

One common way an unauthorized key user could put the community at risk is by driving a vehicle without permission, whether it’s a company fleet car, dealership inventory, a delivery truck, or a government vehicle. If that driver is involved in an accident, they could harm pedestrians, other drivers, or city infrastructure. In one Oregon town, for example, a car struck a power pole, leaving the entire town and surrounding areas without power.

A rare, but still concerning, scenario is a prisoner using a key to escape from prison or jail, posing a danger to society. At a New Mexico jail, an inmate swiped a key that had been left hanging in a lock. He then used the key to access an area containing housing pipes, where he and three other inmates — a group that included a convicted killer and murder suspect — escaped through a hole in the roof.

While everyone is responsible for their own actions, you can take steps to avoid putting your employees, your customers, and the wider community at risk. Investing in an effective key control system is one of those steps. Most, if not all, of the examples mentioned here could have been avoided if keys were securely stored in a way that only authorized people could remove them.

When deciding how you’ll secure your keys, considering the implications to your organization is important, but don’t forget to consider how people’s personal lives could be affected by your decision.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Condo Master Key Control: Five Risks and How to Solve Them

Burglar breaking in with key
Fueled by a heroin addiction, a maintenance technician at a Massachusetts condominium community robbed 19 separate residents over a period of a few years. The monetary value of the items amounted to several thousand dollars, but worse than that, many were irreplaceable heirlooms passed down through multiple generations.

In Canada, a condominium complex spent $30,000 to $40,000 to rekey its building after someone stole a bike from a storage unit.

The common thread in these stories is master keys. The maintenance technician abused his access to the master key to enter residents’ homes, and someone stole a master key from the fire safety box at the Canadian complex to let themselves in to the storage unit.

It’s not uncommon for condo associations to keep master keys on file (or at least copies of each resident’s key), but is the way you handle keys putting your association and residents at risk?

Master Key Risks


Unfortunately, it’s difficult to keep master keys out of the hands of unauthorized people and prevent authorized key holders from abusing their access. Some common issues include the following:

No Rekeying After Construction

During construction, contractors use a master key system to allow them to move easily throughout the building. Once the development is complete, it’s difficult to know which contractors and other vendors might still have master keys to the building. If your condo building hasn’t been rekeyed since it was built, you’re leaving homeowners vulnerable.

Unauthorized Duplication

Stamping keys with “Do Not Duplicate” provides a false sense of security. The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) advises members to discourage customers from relying on this inscription as a security precaution, as it’s not legally binding unless the law prohibits duplication of the keys (such as keys used by the Department of Defense).

If someone wants a copy of a key badly enough, they aren’t likely to let the “Do Not Duplicate” warning stop them. A quick Google search reveals strategies for disguising an inscription, such as hiding it with a rubber cover or covering it with tape and writing a unit number or “Shed Key” on it, so the locksmith is more likely to make copies. There are even local threads dedicated to recommending locksmiths that will ignore the inscription.

Key Abuse

Assuming someone is authorized to use a master key as part of their job, can you be sure that they’re using the key for legitimate reasons? As one lawyer told The Palm Beach Post, even if condo associations have a right of access, it’s “not to be abused by a maintenance man who needs a private place, and not so a maintenance man can use a bathroom.” Failing to abide by these standards can lead to legal issues.

Key Theft

The risk of key theft goes up if you keep keys in an insecure place, such as a fire box that can be easily pried open, a pegboard from which keys can be swiped, or in a desk drawer that’s left unlocked. If you don’t maintain a verifiable access log to track who’s removed keys and when, that risk increases even more.

Carte Blanche Electronic Access

Smart locks, also called electronic locks or keyless entry, give residents the ability to unlock their doors with codes, fobs, or even their smartphones. Keyless entry is convenient, but it does come with more administrative effort than some property managers may realize. If the property uses a system with security tokens, condo association employees may choose to program a master access method that opens all unit doors. This practice presents many of the same risks as master keys.

How to Protect Your Community


To protect your community, follow the below best practices for key security:

Rekey When Necessary

If your building hasn’t been rekeyed since construction or if a master key has gone missing, it’s critical that you rekey to protect residents. To avoid this expense in the future, take steps to secure the keys in your care.

Inform Homeowners

Let homeowners know if you have a master key on file, how you’ll secure it, who will use it, and in what circumstances it’ll be used. If possible, request individual copies of unit keys instead of maintaining a master. Also notify residents when the key to their home has been removed and why.

Keep Accurate Logs

Keep a log of which employees and board members are authorized to access which keys and when. Be sure to update this record and collect any unreturned keys when an employee leaves or when new board members are elected.

In case you need to investigate a possible issue with key abuse, ensure you have a way to pull reports on demand. Using an electronic key control system to create an electronic log minimizes the possibility for human error and manipulation.

Implement the Right System From the Right Partner

To secure keys, implement a patented key control system (a recommendation that’s supported by the ALOA). If you use electronic locks and use preprogrammed access fobs or proximity cards, consider using an electronic key control system to restrict access to those tokens. Just be sure to choose your key control partner carefully — one of homeowners’ top complaints about associations is when management chooses low-quality or unethical vendors.

Train Employees and Board Members

Implement periodic key control training for employees and board members. This ensures that those responsible for keys know what’s expected of them and are aware of the consequences for failing to follow your key control procedures.

Without taking the right precautions, your master keys could be mastering you. By taking steps to secure keys and hold authorized users accountable, you can avoid costly security breaches and put homeowners’ minds at ease.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Is Your Dealership Inviting Organized Crime?

Lot of cars next to harborHow would you react if you discovered that five vehicles had been stolen from your dealership’s lot? What about when police tell you that organized criminals were responsible for the theft — and that those five vehicles were likely shipped overseas to be used in activities related to drug trafficking, terrorism, and other crimes?

Believe it or not, this exact scenario is happening more often, thanks to a common dealership practice: keeping keys in window-mounted lockboxes.

Why Dealers Love Lockboxes


Dealers who use window-mounted lockboxes say one of the reasons they prefer this key control method is it prevents salespeople from abandoning prospects on the lot to retrieve vehicle keys.

However, consider that 60 percent of the car-buying process happens online, with buyers spending nearly 15 hours researching their intended purchase. When prospects visit your store, they’ve already done their research and don’t want to spend time wandering the lot. Even if they did, having prospects in the middle of your sea of inventory only distracts and confuses them, delaying the sales cycle.

Having the vehicle they want to test drive already pulled up when they arrive for an appointment is going to make for a more positive experience than dragging them out to the lot to retrieve a key from the lockbox.

Why Thieves Love Lockboxes


In fact, keeping keys in lockboxes could make you a target for organized crime. Storing keys with each vehicle — as opposed to storing them in a secure location separate from your inventory — simply makes thieves’ jobs easier.

Sure, lockboxes are more secure than keeping keys inside an unlocked car, but as one Tennessee dealer realized, they’re not as foolproof as you might think. Professional thieves have ways to thwart lockboxes, such as using a master key they’ve purchased online, intercepting the fob signal, or simply smashing the box open.

How to Protect Your Inventory


To reduce the risk of theft, it’s important to implement a key control solution that meets at least the following criteria:

  • Prevents unauthorized users from removing keys
  • Keeps keys separate from vehicles
  • Allows salespeople to easily check out keys for test drives

Be sure to continually review your key security measures, especially since new vulnerabilities crop up every day.

To learn more about how organized criminals are targeting dealerships and what you can do to protect your business, download our eBook “Is Your Dealership Inviting Organized Crime?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Customer Tip: Create a Daily Key Control System Checklist

Daily Key Control System Checklist
There’s a reason — several, in fact — some of the most successful leaders use checklists. Not only do they help you stay organized, they also help you delegate and achieve excellence. The same principles apply to effective key management.

With a small daily time investment in your KeyTrak system, you can save time in the long run and prevent hours of headaches in the future. Use the checklist below as a starting point and feel free to customize it for your organization. There are some tasks you should perform throughout the day and others you only need to handle at the end of the day. Once you get into the habit of using this checklist, it’ll become second nature.

Throughout the Day


Inspect the Drawer(s)

Log in, open each drawer, and quickly scan the contents to make sure all keys are properly attached to the tags and all tags have been returned to a slot.

Check the System Summary Screen

Check the System Summary screen for an at-a-glance overview of recent key and user activity. This screen is continuously displayed at the bottom of the main screen, making it easy to keep tabs on system transactions.

Review Automatic Email Reports

If you haven’t already, consider setting up automatic email reports so you can conveniently monitor system activity from your desk.

Pay Attention to Pop-up Messages

If a pop-up message appears on the screen, don’t ignore it. Be sure to follow any instructions it includes. Users should be trained to contact a system administrator, their manager, or KeyTrak support if they encounter an issue.

At the End of the Day


Ensure All Keys Have Been Returned to the System

Making sure all keys have been returned to the system at the end of the day helps prevent security breaches. Use the System Summary screen to quickly see how many keys are checked out.

Run Keys Out and Tag Inventory Reports

If you see that keys are still checked out of the system at the end of the day, run Keys Out and Tag Inventory reports to see which keys haven’t been returned and which users checked them out. Keep reports on file for at least 90 days in case you need them to investigate an incident.

Perform a Backup

Back up the system via an external media device or KeyTrak Cloud Backup and ensure you have a data recovery plan. This ensures that in the event of an event such as a power outage, you’ll have a map of each drawer’s contents.

If it’s not possible to complete all these steps personally, whether you’re going to be out of the office or the business closes after you’ve left for the day, you can share any or all of these tasks with a trusted system administrator.

Taking a few minutes every day to go through your checklist and monitor your KeyTrak system will help your business be secure, efficient, and successful.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Effective Key Management Saves Time and Lives

Corrections officer watching inmates
According to the Justice Department, about 4,400 people die in U.S. prisons every year, which equates to 12 per day. Whether it’s a fight among inmates or an inmate needing medical attention in their cell, your correctional officers (COs) need to react quickly and efficiently.

Unfortunately, when precious seconds matter and a CO needs a key, policies and procedures often get tossed aside. It’s not ideal to search and fumble for the right key and sign it out when every second counts in a dangerous circumstance.

Under the stress of the situation, whoever took the key may not put it back immediately. If the key isn't promptly returned and later left in an unsecured location, that opens the door for an inmate to swipe the key. If a CO loses a key after failing to complete the checkout log, then there’s no telling who might have it or who needs to be held responsible for losing it. It might even go unreported.

What happens when you do find out that a key has been lost or stolen? You may have to change multiple locks in your facility. That means dishing out significant funds, which could have been used for other facility upgrades.

You may think that these problems are unavoidable and that they happen in every jail or prison. However, there are several ways that you can avoid these issues in your facility.

Don’t Rely on Outdated Procedures


Old metal lockboxes and handwritten logs are outdated procedures that represent a major security and key management risk for your facility. Secure your keys with an electronic key control system that allows quick but secure access to keys.

Hold Employees Accountable


Make sure you know who’s responsible for keys by keeping accurate key audit trails. Keeping accurate audit trails helps with avoiding employee theft. With an electronic key control system that automatically tracks access, you can quickly know if a key isn’t returned and who removed it, holding employees accountable and saving you time and money.

Avoid Slow Key Checkout Methods


With a quick and easy key checkout method, you can make sure COs don’t feel compelled to grab keys without signing them out first because they don’t have time to waste in an emergency. An electronic key control system with a prompt checkout procedure, such as a biometric fingerprint reader, ensures COs aren’t wasting any precious seconds.

An electronic key control system can also help your COs in times of duress — especially when a CO may need to discreetly notify a supervisor of a problem without letting the inmates know. Being able to do so will ensure a quick response time and prevent the situation from escalating.

When all it takes is a second for things to go south, it’s imperative to have efficient procedures in place that don’t hinder safety or security. An efficient key management process can save your facility time, money, and lives.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

CO Training Doesn't End After Orientation

Prison guard tower
Correctional officers (COs) face dangerous situations every day. The 428,000 COs tasked with overseeing 2.3 million incarcerated individuals in this country are well aware of the stresses and risks of the job.

Let's break down the numbers. Correctional institutions have a higher rate of nonfatal workplace-related injuries (7.9 per 100 full-time workers) than ferrous metal foundries (7.4), sawmills (5.9), coal mines (3.7), and forestry and logging operations (3.1). In fact, the national average across all sectors is 3.1 — less than half of what COs face every day.

It would stand to reason that occupations with a high amount of risk, such as being a CO, would warrant a high amount of training. After all, commercial pilots, law enforcement patrol officers, and military soldiers receive extensive training before going out into the world and being entrusted with others' lives.

Unfortunately, that's not always the case for COs. Prisons and jails across the country are filled to the brim with inmates, while a shortage of COs is leaving gaps that are being filled by tired and overworked COs or, in a move that's becoming more common, inexperienced support staff. In some states and facilities, new COs are rushed through a basic orientation class then thrown to the wolves.

The realities of your staffing needs might prevent you from providing COs with much more than orientation before they're sent inside, but that doesn't mean training should stop there. It's more important than ever to maintain routine training — even if it's revisiting basic security processes like key management — for new and experienced COs alike.

Here are some areas where routine training is critical:

Defusing Dangerous Situations


Your COs will inevitably face dangerous situations that could escalate into fights, attacks, or riots. Sometimes it's better to be the brains in the situation than the brawn. Training on how to defuse dangerous situations helps COs keep the peace. A course on crisis intervention, for example, helped Deputy Warden Robert Montoya stay calm while negotiating with inmates during the New Mexico State Penitentiary riot in 1980.

Surviving When the Worst Happens


Physical attacks are going to happen, and COs need to be prepared for how to react. Hand-to-hand combat is probably part of your basic training program for COs, but it's an area that should get frequent refreshing. The ability to escape an attack and de-escalate the situation should be muscle memory. This skill is especially important for the support staff filling shortage gaps since inmates will anticipate they can take advantage of staff members' inexperience.

Catching Smuggled Contraband


From weapons and drugs to food and cell phones, there are any number of things your facility considers contraband, and keeping those items out is a growing challenge. Outsiders — and even insiders — are always searching for and evolving ways to get contraband inside. Routine training should cover the latest methods for smuggling contraband, such as drones, and reinforce the consequences for COs who are caught involved in smuggling.

Maintaining Security Processes


All it takes is one little slipup to give an inmate a chance to escape or instigate problems. Consider a scenario where a cell key is lost by a rookie CO. How soon would your key management officer know the key is missing? How much time and money would you waste rekeying cells because the CO was careless or wasn't held accountable? From making sure gates are closed to practicing sound key management, all security processes should get routine training refreshers.

Even if your COs get extensive training before their first day on the job, it's still important to reinforce these areas. COs must do their job right day in and day out, and even one mistake can lead to an attack or escape attempt. What do you do to make sure your COs always follow procedures?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How to Predict and Prevent Employee Theft

Man concealing money in suit jacket
Every year, workplace crimes such as employee theft costs U.S. businesses $50 billion. Most of these thieves aren’t hardened criminals who’ve been plotting to defraud their employers from the outset. In fact, the vast majority (96 percent) don’t have prior fraud convictions. With the right motivation and opportunity, employees will try to justify stealing time, money, information, or assets from your organization.

Not all employees steal, of course, so how do you spot and stop insider threats?

Three Characteristics of Employees Who Steal


While insider threats take many forms, people who have stolen from their employers can typically be described by one or more of the following three characteristics.

Disengaged


According to Gallup, only 33 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. Apathetic employees are toxic to the work environment — they miss more work, negatively influence coworkers, cost money in lost productivity, and drive customers away. You might have guessed that they’re more likely to steal as well. In fact, business units with high numbers of disengaged employees lose 51 percent more of their inventory.

Desperate


Desperation can send seemingly trustworthy veteran employees down a slippery slope to fraudulent behavior. Circumstances that can drive people to extreme measures include:

  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Family problems
  • Financial difficulties
  • Addiction struggles
  • Medical issues
  • Job troubles
  • Unstable life circumstances

Faced with any of these issues, an employee could feel there’s no other solution than to misappropriate resources. They might try to justify their actions with excuses such as “The company makes millions every year. A few thousand won’t hurt,” or “I’ll return the money when I can.”

Disgruntled


Disgruntled employees can wreak havoc on your company, retaliating for what they feel is unfair treatment, whether it’s low pay, disrespect, or termination. They may steal proprietary information, facility keys, computer hardware, equipment, money, inventory, time, or things as small as office supplies.

Deterring Theft


Understanding why employees steal is one thing, but preventing theft is another. There are, however, a few things you can do to help nip fraudulent activity in the bud.

Address Suspicious Behaviors


Certain behavioral warning signals can indicate whether or not an employee is more likely to swindle your company:

  • Living beyond their means
  • Developing an unusually close relationship with a vendor, customer, or other business partner
  • Objecting to sharing job duties
  • Displaying a wheeler-dealer attitude
  • Acting irritable, suspicious, or defensive
  • Harassing other employees
  • Frequently showing up late or not at all
  • Abusing internet access by visiting inappropriate websites or spending too much time browsing

It’s important to monitor these behaviors and promptly address any areas of concern.

Hold Employees Accountable


As with most processes, your approach to security should never be “set it and forget it.” Management should be actively involved in ensuring the honest, appropriate employee conduct your organization expects. The following steps are a good start:

  • Have clear company policies that outline expectations for performance and conduct.
  • Enforce predefined consequences for noncompliance.
  • Implement checks and balances such as having employees share responsibilities or requiring two approvals for transactions.
  • Revoke access privileges and confiscate company property immediately when employees leave.

By holding employees accountable, you can reduce opportunities for theft.

Detect and Investigate Suspected Theft


Unfortunately, even with precautions in place, theft does still happen. To help you detect and investigate suspected theft, implement the measures below:

  • Secure restricted areas or equipment with hardware or software that can track user access.
  • Set up automatic alerts for suspicious activity on key control, accounting, or other systems.
  • Establish a tip hotline or other reporting process employees can use to anonymously report any fishy behavior they’ve observed.

Once you’ve been tipped off to possible wrongdoing, be sure to act promptly to minimize the impact on your organization.

By being proactive and aware of what’s going on inside the four walls of your business, you can avoid being a part of that $50 billion tab for employee theft.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Multifamily Reputation Management Starts Offline

Person's finger leaving review on smartphone with boxes in background
How many people read reviews before leasing an apartment? A better question is, how many don’t? According to studies by Apartments.com, Entrata, NMHC/Kingsley Associates, and reputation.com, the majority of prospective renters — 80-98 percent, depending on which study you look at — want to know what other people have to say about an apartment community before they sign a lease.

With those numbers, it’s not hard to see why reputation management is a hot topic in the multifamily industry. You can find a lot of tips for monitoring and responding to reviews, but don’t forget that reputation management starts offline. After all, if residents have a positive living experience, what reason do they have to leave a poor review?

To create that kind of experience, you have to consider what residents really want. Some people value amenities such as outdoor kitchens or valet trash service, but many prioritize features that should be givens, like privacy and safety.

Here are three steps you can take to give residents the protection they need to feel that your community is the place they want to call home.

Respect Living Space


Even though they don’t own their homes, apartment residents want to maintain a sense of personal space and feel secure where they live. In fact, 63 percent of millennials say they’d move out of an apartment that lacks security.

A big part of maintaining those expectations is holding your staff accountable for when and why they can access units. If an employee enters an apartment without permission or proper notice, the resident who lives there will feel like their sense of privacy has been violated.

Case in point: A former tenant of a Washington property complained in a review that his apartment had been entered without permission or written notice three or more different times while he was away from home, and his front door was left unlocked.

1-star review: My apartment was entered at least 3 different times when I was not home and my front door left unlocked.


Having a clear key control policy and keeping accurate key activity records will discourage employees from entering apartments without authorization. In addition, using an electronic key control system that automatically notifies residents when the key to their unit has been removed increases transparency and reduces unwelcome surprises.

If you use smart locks, it’s important to treat security tokens such as fobs and cards with the same level of security you would traditional metal keys. For example, you wouldn’t want to program a token with access to all the units on the property, and you need to control who can use any preprogrammed security tokens.

Minimize Package Theft and Loss


Over the past decade or so, e-commerce sales have steadily grown. In 2018, they accounted for 14.3 percent of total retail sales, up from 13 percent in 2017 and 11.6 percent in 2016. As you’ve probably discovered, what this trend means for multifamily properties is more packages. The average property receives 150 packages a week, and 270 a week during the holiday season.

1-star review: Our packages are getting stolen from our front desk.It should come as no surprise, then, that many property reviews feature complaints about packages being stolen, the office refusing to accept deliveries, or residents not knowing when packages have been delivered to the leasing office.

Package delivery is a sore spot for property managers and there’s no easy solution. Still, it’s essential to maintain resident satisfaction by implementing an efficient package tracking method for logging deliveries. If your system of choice notifies residents via email or text that their packages are ready to be picked up, that's even better.

The National Apartment Association’s white paper “How to Effectively Manage Package Acceptance” includes some further suggestions for addressing package problems.

Safeguard Private Information


The moment a prospect submits a rental application, you have access to a wealth of sensitive information and documents: Social Security number, credit history, pay stubs, etc. Once someone signs a lease and moves in, you also have keys to their mailboxes, which can hold similar sensitive documents.

1-star review: OUR IDENTITY WAS STOLEN. Great job for not safeguarding tenant credit information.Failing to safeguard a resident’s personal information won’t do any favors for your reputation. In a review of a Michigan complex, a woman complained that her and her husband’s identities had been stolen a couple weeks after their rental application was run. She described how a leasing agent was stealing residents’ information, applying for credit in their names, and then retrieving any correspondence related to the thefts from the people’s mailboxes before they received it.

It’s important to implement both cybersecurity and physical security best practices to secure digital records as well as keys to mailboxes and other areas that contain residents’ personal information.

There’s a lot that goes into reputation management. Monitoring and responding to reviews will help you shape your online reputation — but that’s after people have already voiced their opinions. By creating a positive living experience, starting with the three steps mentioned above, you can influence how people talk about your property online and prevent them from rushing to complain about you on review sites and social media.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Customer Tip: Create a Tag Preparation Process

Tags in KeyTrak drawer
Any key control process is only as effective as its users. That extends to simple tasks like preparing key tags for use with your KeyTrak system. To make the process secure and efficient, follow the best practices below:

  • Ensure a designated system administrator or manager is the only person who can access fastening tools. This will prevent keys being removed from or added to the system without authorization. If a key needs to be removed from the key tag, the administrator must be notified to reattach it.
  • Tag keys as soon as possible and put them in the system. The longer you wait to start tracking keys, the more your risk grows.
  • Store tags and fasteners separate from the system. Ideally, keep tagging supplies near a PC where the administrator or manager can access our Web Plus remote software. That way, administrators don’t have to transport tagging supplies back and forth to the KeyTrak system, and they can prepare tags and add new keys to the system without tying up the system.
  • Follow industry best practices for labeling key tags. In certain industries, labeling key tags is acceptable. For example, in the automotive industry, key tags usually include a vehicle’s year, make and model. Generally, however, you should avoid labeling key tags with door numbers or other details about the key. This is especially true for multifamily properties or high-security facilities where a lost key puts someone’s safety at risk.
  • Closely monitor your supply of key tags so you don’t run out. To order more key tags quickly and easily, visit our online supplies catalog.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure your key control process is as effective as possible. For more helpful information about getting the most out of your KeyTrak system, be sure to read some of our other customer tips as well.

Monday, April 8, 2019

How to Prevent Student Worker Security Risks

College student in a dorm room.
Transportation, computer labs, student housing — almost every university offers a wide variety of employment opportunities to students who'd like to earn money and get valuable job experience while they complete their degrees.

Depending on the student worker's role, you trust them with access to heavy vehicles, campus network servers and dorm room keys, among many other sensitive and valuable assets and areas. While this access is critical to the students' ability to do their jobs — and provide a great educational and living experience to their fellow students — a lack of clear security protocols and accountability can leave your university at risk.

What's the Worst That Could Happen to Me?


You likely have handbooks that outline rules, responsibilities and consequences for what happens when student workers fail to meet existing security standards. However, inadequate security practices might mean you won't know there has been a problem with a student worker's access until it's too late.

Consider that one of the biggest security risks for any business is its employees. When it comes to protecting your campus and students, your security protocols can be a matter of the least common denominator — your campus is only as safe as how the lowest-ranking person on your staff treats their access to secure assets and areas. Do you trust a 19-year-old resident assistant (RA) to make the right call on not loaning a friend a master key at 3 a.m. in the middle of midterms?

Your student workers who have access to keys — both physical and electronic — are the gatekeepers to the safety of your other students. Without proper oversight and accountability, even simple mistakes can have dire consequences.

One Texas university learned this lesson the hard way when a man who had been dating an RA allegedly used a master keycard belonging to the RA to access another student's room. Police said the man had intended to commit a sexual assault. The RA was unaware that the keycard had been taken or that the assailant knew her PIN until after the attack happened.

What Can I Do?


Tailored security training should be a priority for every employee — from department deans to student workers — on your campus to equip them with the tools and knowledge required to prevent major security breaches. For example, student workers need to know how to spot potential criminals trying to gain access as well as understand the real-world consequences of losing a key, which affects the safety of their friends and fellow students.

You should also consider a key management system that automatically tracks key and asset access so employees know they'll be held accountable for how their credentials are used. An electronic key control system would help you secure your university's keys while tying access to individual employees. The system you choose should be able to alert higher-level staff when a key is accessed outside normal hours or isn't returned within a given time frame so key use isn't abused either by student workers or somebody close to them.

Protecting the students on your campus is one of your top priorities. But putting too much trust in your student workers without oversight could leave other students vulnerable to theft or assault. What will you do to prevent your student workers from abusing their access privileges?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

How Electronic Key Control Can Help Your Service Department Get Reimbursed for Shuttle Rides

As margins on vehicle sales grow tighter, fixed ops is claiming a larger share of dealerships’ gross revenue. In 2018, NADA data showed that fixed ops brought in nearly 50 percent of gross profits.

At the same time, 72 percent of dealers say warranty work due to recalls is higher than it was five years ago. While warranty work is often a source of frustration for service departments, there is one way to maximize warranty revenue that you could be missing out on: reimbursement for courtesy shuttle rides.

Claiming Reimbursement for Shuttle Rides


Some OEMs will reimburse dealerships for courtesy shuttle rides provided to customers with warranty service appointments. GM, for example, will reimburse up to $7.50 each way.*

Let’s assume your OEM reimburses you $5-$7.50 per shuttle ride. It doesn’t seem like much, but consider how much that adds up to depending on the number of shuttle rides you offer:

100 rides/month = $500-$750/month = $6,000-$9,000/year  • 250 rides/month = $1,250-$1,875/month = $15,000-$22,500/year  • 500 rides/month = $2,500-$3,750/month = $30,000-$45,000/year


If you’re already offering shuttle rides that are eligible for reimbursements and you’re not claiming those funds, you’re flushing money down the drain. Of course, how do you request those funds if you don’t have records of all the rides?

Using Electronic Key Control to Help Prevent Unrecorded Rides


You may have a log for tracking shuttle rides, but if someone forgets to update the log, you miss out on an opportunity for reimbursement. If you have an electronic key control system in your service department, you can take advantage of that system to help prevent unrecorded shuttle trips.

When you store the shuttle keys in the system, the driver has to check out keys for each shuttle ride. By requiring the user to enter a reason (e.g., “shuttle ride,” “gas refill,” “service”), you can keep track of when you provided shuttle rides. With this method, you could easily recoup hundreds of dollars each month in unrecorded trips.

By using electronic key control to help you capture potential reimbursement opportunities for shuttle rides, you can make the most of your warranty appointments.

* Reimbursement amounts and guidelines are subject to change. Please check with your OEM for more information about courtesy shuttle transportation reimbursement.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Four-Minute History of Key Control

Keys have undergone quite the transformation over the centuries: wooden beams in ancient Egypt, ornate rings in ancient Rome, oversized iron keys in medieval Europe, five-pin Yale keys invented in the late 1800s (and still in use today) and even no keys at all, with the advent of keyless entry.

Regardless of the form keys take, they’re as valuable as the areas or items they protect. They’re also only as secure as the key owner’s ability to manage who can use them. That’s why key control exists. Take a few minutes to explore how key control has evolved over the centuries.

Key Wearing


In ancient Rome, only the wealthy carried keys, because most people didn’t own anything valuable enough to warrant locking it up. Those who did own valuables stored them in secure boxes and wore bronze keys fashioned as rings on their fingers or on straps or chains around their necks. Wearing keys was a status symbol, much like wearing multiple-carat diamond jewelry is today.

Carrying keys continued to be a privilege belonging to the affluent in medieval Europe, and keys became more elaborate as locksmithing evolved into an art form. Usually made of iron or bronze, keys were as long as 12 inches and featured intricate ornamentation.


Ancient Roman and medieval keys
Ancient Roman and Medieval Keys


Pegboards, Cabinets and Lockboxes


With the Industrial Age, the lock-and-key system went through a series of transformations that made locks more secure and keys smaller and thinner. Unlike the days where only the elite carried keys, average people became key holders.

With more keys in circulation, businesses began formalizing key control. Hotels, for example, used cabinets or wooden panels with hooks for keys, often labeling each key with the number that corresponded to the room. When a key was removed, a manual log book was updated with details such as which key was taken, who it was issued to, when it was removed, when it was returned, etc. Wooden panels later evolved to wall-mounted metal cabinets.


Wooden Key Panel at Ford Dalles Museum
By Steven Pavlov
[CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)],
from Wikimedia Commons
Metal key box
Metal Key Box

Then came the 1960s: a pivotal time in key control history, with two notable key control products being patented. The portable key safe, or lockbox as it’s now called, allowed keys to be stored in a small locked box that was attached to doors of homes for sale or windows of vehicles on dealership lots. Perforated hardboard, or the pegboard, provided an easily installable way to store multiple sets of keys. Both of these key storage methods are still common today.

Lockbox hanging on door
Lockbox
Keys hanging on pegboard
Keys Hanging on Pegboard


Electronic Key Control


As key cabinets and pegboards became commonplace, an entrepreneur noticed that people weren’t always able to maintain control over their keys. Keys went missing, people failed to update (or manipulated) key control records, and businesses spent thousands on rekeying costs.

In 1987, an entrepreneur created an electronic key control system that automatically captured the details of each transaction every time a key was removed. That system was KeyTrak. Today, there are multiple types of electronic key control systems on the market, including vending-machine-style systems, PC-based systems tied to electronic metal drawers, and wall-mounted panels. Some systems, however, still require manual steps, such as scanning a key tag, that are vulnerable to human error.

Open key control system drawer
Electronic Key Control System

Keyless Entry


In the 1970s, an inventor created a lock using a programmable key card — no metal key required. Today, keyless entry systems, also called smart locks, allow people to manage access to their buildings or assets with fobs, smartphones, fingerprints and codes entered on keypads.

Businesses are adopting smart locks for key benefits such as the ability to grant access remotely, disable an individual’s access without having to collect a key or rekey locks, and create an audit trail of door access. Security professionals are divided in their opinions on the safety of keyless door locks, so some businesses still choose to use traditional locks or a combination of traditional and keyless locks.

Smart lock
Smart Lock


Throughout the history of key control, one thing has never changed (and never will): the need for human accountability. No matter what form of access control you use, make sure you have a reliable system to track who can enter restricted areas and handle valuable assets so you answer the question "Do you know where your keys are?"

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Practical Ways Electronic Key Control Makes Condo Property Managers’ Jobs Easier

Businesswoman looking at laptop in office
From celebrity encounters to bed bugs to burst pipes, the life of a condo property manager is anything but boring. In addition to developing a rapport with the board and property owners, you also have to juggle the day-to-day challenges of helping the property run smoothly.

You can’t avoid some of those responsibilities — like mediating disagreements between neighbors or persuading the board to agree to a special assessment. But you can simplify other tasks, like managing keys, employee schedules and more. Consider the following ways electronic key control makes your job easier.

Stick to Your Key Control Policy


Policies and procedures help facilitate the operations of a condo community, which is critical when there are multiple owners living in close vicinity of one another.

Keeping up with bylaws, legal guidelines and more is hard enough as it is. Setting up electronic key control system rules consistent with your condo association’s key control policy helps you ensure board members and other employees follow key-use protocol.

Some examples of how you can use a key control solution to help enforce your key management policy include:

  • Require two people (e.g., security personnel, property manager and/or board member) to log in and jointly check out a unit key for emergency, security or maintenance purposes.
  • Prevent unit owners from removing neighbors’ keys without permission and for unauthorized purposes.
  • Keep an up-to-date record of keys on file.
  • Automatically record the date and time a key is removed or returned.
  • Prompt employees to include checkout reasons when removing keys.
  • Keep track of keys without having to label them with the unit number or a code that requires a key index to decipher.

By digitizing these functions, you reduce the element of human error and manipulation when managing keys.

Manage Employee Work Schedules and Responsibilities


Overseeing human resources can easily become one of your most time-consuming duties, especially if you manage a larger property.

Giving employees a single system to clock in and perform certain responsibilities, like tracking work orders, makes it easier for you to oversee their activity on the job and makes them more efficient as well. The fewer applications employees have to learn and use, the better.

Electronic key control also allows you to grant secure access to keys to personnel handling emergency maintenance issues or porters delivering packages to residents (if you offer package delivery).

If your electronic key control provider has a training program, encouraging your employees to take advantage of that resource reduces onboarding time and helps them discover new ways to use the technology more efficiently. By spending less time on logistics, you can focus more on helping employees develop the skills they need to succeed at their jobs and represent the property well.

Give Homeowners a Sense of Security


If your association keeps a copy of owners’ keys on hand, you want to reassure them that you take their security and privacy seriously, especially if there are residents who were reluctant to hand over copies of their keys.

When the key to a homeowner’s home is checked out, an electronic key control system can automatically send a text or email to the owner to let them know. The system will create an audit trail of key use, which gives owners peace of mind. It gives you a sense of security too, since the verifiable record helps protect you from liability.

When you have as many things on your plate as you do, making small changes to the way you carry out your responsibilities can have a big impact. To learn more about how electronic key control helps you succeed at your job, check out our post “Five Benefits of Implementing Electronic Key Control.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

How Will Your Correctional Facility Deal With These Challenges in 2019?

Jail keys
While the Bureau of Justice Statistics has indicated that prison and jail populations have been trending slightly down over the last decade, the reality is that such a decline has done little to alleviate the common problems at correctional facilities around the nation.

As we move into the thick of 2019, correctional facilities will continue to face major challenges that leave officers and employees at risk, increase the chances of inmate violence, and cause many other headaches inside your walls.

Here are some challenges correctional facilities can expect to deal with in the coming year, along with ways to combat them.

Retaining Staff


As you're no doubt aware, working in a prison is a stressful job. Correctional officers (COs) deal with dangerous people and must face the risk of riots, attacks and escape attempts on a daily basis. In many ways, being a CO can be a thankless job since it can be difficult for people to get a sense of what the job provides to society. From poor safety practices to low pay, several issues have driven many good COs away and contributed to staff shortages in many states.

One small thing you can do to help retain your COs is to help them feel like management understands their concerns and issues. Reassure them of the importance of their position and what it provides to society — keeping criminals off the streets. In addition, take what steps you can to give them better safety and security within your facility, whether by implementing new technologies or providing them with better safety equipment.

Managing Overcrowding


Though the number of inmates has generally declined in recent years, prisons and jail have remained overly crowded based on official capacities. Overcrowding opens the door to many issues, such as an increased chance of inmate violence and a strain on CO and inmate morale. In fact, overcrowding was credited with fueling riots in Kansas prisons in 2017 and 2018.

The construction of more correctional facilities is largely out of your hands, so managers and officers simply have to do the best they can with the available resources to manage the overcrowding issue. Consider reviewing your protocols for what your COs' responsibilities are, how you manage your keys and how you address inmate issues and complaints. Look for areas where lapses in these areas might be leaving everybody at risk and develop better processes. Hold staff accountable to make sure they follow these new rules.

Preventing Violence


Unfortunately, violence is a reality of life in and around correctional facilities, and it affects inmates as well as COs. Even when inmates aren't directly attacking officers, the latter must still get involved during fights between inmates, putting themselves at risk and potentially causing violence to escalate.

Preventing violence is difficult, especially since overcrowding can only be managed internally so much. The best thing you can do is to take steps to better protect your officers who are in harm's way every day. Provide them with equipment, tools and training to handle threats. Find inefficiencies in your physical security that could leave COs at risk of attack or prevent riots from being contained quickly.

Some of these challenges are, to some extent, inescapable due to the myriad of reasons that contribute to people ending up incarcerated and the lack of funding. However, setting policies and making sure COs and employees follow them can give you a step up in protecting your staff not only this year but for years to come.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Customer Tip: Revoke Access Privileges When Employees Leave

Access denied graphic
When an employee leaves your organization, how long afterward are they able to access your company’s systems or use facility keys?

Failure to revoke former employees’ access privileges is a rampant problem across all industries. In a survey of IT decision makers, nearly half of respondents said they were aware of ex-employees who still had access to company applications. Some of these respondents (20 percent) also said that their organization had experienced a data breach as a result of continuing to allow former employees access to company resources.

Just as it’s important to deprovision access to corporate accounts such as email and customer databases, it’s critical to ensure no former employees have access to your key control system by deleting users immediately after they terminate employment.

By following best practices for reducing internal theft — both during and after someone’s employment — you can keep your business secure.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How Comprehensive Is Your K-12 School Campus Security Plan?

High school hallway
Protecting the students and staff on your K-12 campus is not a small or simple task. Schools across the country have felt the repercussions of inadequate security measures in very real and tragic ways in recent years, and you've likely responded to this by stepping up the security at your own campus.

However, it can be easy to fall into the trap of being sold on a cheap, simple solution that either doesn't work in practice — potentially at a time when it is needed most such as during an active shooter scenario — or is sold as one-stop-shop solution that will solve all your problems.

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools recently released the fourth edition of Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools to help administrators implement layered and tiered approaches to campus safety and avoid the pitfalls of ineffective and oversold solutions.

The guidelines point out that protecting students and staff from potential threats takes a comprehensive approach. Even one small gap, such as a door that isn't locked or a key that isn't returned, can leave your campus at risk.

Among the guidelines is an emphasis on the role key management must play in your security infrastructure, whether you use traditional keys or an electronic keyless system. The guidelines recommend that keys should be carefully controlled and limited and that "requests for keys should be handled by a process in which each key distributed is logged and documented."

Take a look at the guidelines here so you can make sure you aren't leaving any gaps in your security strategy.

Monday, January 14, 2019

What Happens When You Don't Have Accurate Key Control Records?

Antique copy of Constitution
Imagine reconstructing history without important documents such as constitutional amendments, peace treaties and records of significant events. How many different accounts of the same events would there be? How different would our understanding of the world be? On a smaller scale, that’s why it’s important to have accurate records of how your business’s keys are used.

Relying on an employee’s word or making assumptions based on the circumstances simply won’t cut it. You must have a reliable key control audit trail.

What Is a Key Control Audit Trail?


A key control audit trail captures specific details about the history of an employee’s interactions with a specific key:

  • Who accessed the key
  • When they removed it
  • Why they removed it
  • Who authorized the transaction
  • When the key was due back
  • When it was actually returned

With a verifiable record of these details, a company can build a historical record of key-related activity within the business. If the audit trail doesn’t exist or isn’t reliable, the organization is forced to rely on conjecture and employees’ versions of events.

To help you learn from others’ mistakes, we’ll examine two real-life examples demonstrating the consequences of a poor audit trail and explain what you should do instead.

Poor Audit Trail 1: A Dealership Goes to Court


Two vehicles in fender bender
For one dealership, a poor audit trail resulted in costly legal action. A dealership employee used one of his employer’s vehicles to run a personal errand on his lunch break and rear-ended a couple who then brought a lawsuit against the dealership.

The jury found that the dealership had given the employee implied permission to use the vehicle based on its policies for vehicle use (or lack thereof) and method for controlling access to keys. Described in the case summary as “an elaborate process,” the dealership’s key control procedure involved keeping keys in a shack staffed by an attendant. The key-issue process included the following steps:

  • Request Keys — Employees needing access to a vehicle approached the window of the shack to request the keys they needed.
  • Complete a Key Request Tag — Either the employee or the shack attendant filled out a key request tag containing the date, time, vehicle stock number, name of the person requesting the keys and the vehicle’s destination (test drive, detail line, gas station, third-party vendor, etc.). Employees weren’t required to list the return time, and they could check out multiple keys at once.
  • Update the Key Control Log — The attendant transferred the information from each tag to a key control log and hung the tags on a board in the shack. A new key control log was started each day.
  • Highlight the Log Entry When the Vehicle Is Returned — When a vehicle was returned, the attendant highlighted the log entry. If the vehicle was returned on a subsequent day, however, the attendant didn’t always go back to the earlier date’s log sheet to highlight the appropriate record. At least one log showed vehicles being checked out in the early afternoon for detail work — a one- to three-hour job — and not being returned until late at night, indicating that employees didn’t always return vehicles in a timely manner.

The Problem

Because one person was in charge of issuing keys and the dealership didn’t have a clear policy against using vehicles for personal reasons or without supervisor approval, employees assumed that if the shack attendant gave them keys to a vehicle, they were authorized to use it.

In addition, relying on one person to manage keys without any cross checks increased the risk of human error, and the data’s accuracy couldn’t be verified. Since keys weren’t always marked as returned and the vehicles’ gas, oil or mileage levels weren’t monitored, it was easy for unauthorized use of vehicles to go undetected.

The Consequences

Although the dealership insisted that employees weren’t allowed to drive vehicles for personal use, the jury ruled that the dealership’s lack of strict vehicle monitoring and lax key control processes implied tacit permission for employees to use the vehicles. Despite appealing the jury’s verdict, the dealership was held liable for $277,662 in damages.

Poor Audit Trail 2: A Prison Is Cited for Key Control Deficiencies


Hand holding prison keys
A 5,200-bed state corrections facility is required to undergo annual audits conducted by the state’s Office of Inspector General. One of the audit categories reviews how keys are stored and accounted for in each unit within the facility. In one year’s inspection, the audit uncovered several problems with the facility’s key control records:

  • Inaccurate Key Inventories — In several units, key inventory records didn’t match actual key stock. There were keys that were shown as on-site but were actually out for repair, a master key inventory that was off by several sets, recorded key numbers that didn’t match the number printed on the keys, and multiple key rings stored on single hooks with the additional sets not recorded in the key inventory.
  • Improperly Completed Key Logs — Some units had key control logs in place, but the logs weren’t completed properly, and keys weren’t always marked as returned. For example, of the 17 times emergency keys were signed out in one unit, the keys were marked as returned only 10 of those times. In the main control unit, returned keys weren’t signed back in or placed in key boxes until an hour after shift changes.
  • Missing Historical Records — One unit was required to keep on file a monthly report showing the inspection and inventory of all keys, but the key control officer didn’t have any master key inventory records older than three months. Of the past inventories that did exist, the corrections officer didn’t have copies available for review.
  • Separate Data Sources — The master key inventory and total number of keys on hand were documented in separate reports.
  • Unauthorized Key Use — Inmates possessed keys without written authorizations on record.

The Problem

The facility’s key storage methods and manual, paper-based processes made it difficult to keep an accurate audit trail. For example, when storing multiple key rings on a single hook, it was difficult to see how many sets of keys there actually were, which led to the wrong number of key rings being recorded.

Employee training and accountability issues resulted in key control logs not being updated in a timely manner — if at all. It was also problematic that key-issue authorizations weren’t always completed and there wasn’t an effective process for storing and accessing historical records.

The Consequences

The deficiencies in the key control audit added to the correctional facility’s compliance burden, since it had to correct all the key control problems it was cited for, in addition to issues cited in other categories. Worse, the inaccurate records would make it easier for missing keys to go unnoticed, increasing security risks.

Best Practices for Creating and Maintaining an Audit Trail


Regardless of your industry or the types of keys you manage, there are typically two culprits for inadequate audit trails: manual processes and lack of employee accountability. To create and maintain a verifiable audit trail that’ll help you avoid unauthorized key use and liability, follow these best practices:

  • Move away from manual logs and digitize the key control record by using an electronic key control system.
  • Ensure you capture all pertinent details of a transaction, including who took the key, why they took it, when it was removed and when it was returned.
  • Store keys in such a way that they can be easily found within the system and can’t be accessed without authorization.
  • For sensitive keys, automatically record which manager or supervisor authorized someone to have a key (e.g., by requiring both an employee and their manager to log in to an electronic key control system in order to check out certain keys).
  • Set due dates for keys and enable text or email alerts for when keys aren’t returned on time.
  • Have a way to easily run reports of key activity.
  • Back up data to ensure you have a copy of your key access history.
Key control audit trail checklist

By ensuring you have accurate, verifiable key control records, you’ll help protect your business from costly lawsuits, compliance hassles and security breaches. When it comes to creating a history of how your business’s keys are used, don’t take someone’s word for it.

Monday, January 7, 2019

How Effective Key Management Can Help Your Dealership Get More 5-Star Reviews


In today’s customer-driven world, it’s crucial to differentiate your dealership by providing a 5-star customer experience. But if your salespeople aren’t happy, they’ll become unmotivated and their performance will suffer. In fact, the industry’s employee turnover rate is a sky-high 46 percent.

five starsDisengaged employees also helps explain why nearly 30 percent of car buyers are dissatisfied with their experience at a dealership. Unhappy employees lead to disappointed customers, which lead to negative online reviews. When you consider the fact that 61 percent of car buyers research online before visiting a dealership, it becomes clear how crucial online reviews are.

There are several factors that go into engaging employees and creating a positive customer experience, but one thing you might not have considered is your key management process.

How Effective Key Management Affects the Customer Experience


One of the most important aspects of selling a car is the test drive. If your salespeople are bogged down with a clunky key checkout process, your customers’ frustration will grow as they wait. Invest in tools that make employees’ jobs easier and show you value their success.

Think of it this way: If you were given the choice between the following two key checkout processes, which would you choose?


  • Manual Process: 5-10 minutes. When retrieving a key for a test drive, the salesperson goes to a desk, cabinet or pegboard where keys are kept and rifles through them to find the correct one. If the key isn't there, the salesperson has to spend time tracking it down, not knowing who has the key, when it was last taken, or if it's even available anymore. This process could take well over 10 minutes, especially if the key was taken back to a sales person’s desk and not returned to the correct place. 


  • Electronic Process: 15-60 seconds. When retrieving a key for a test drive, the salesperson goes to an electronic cabinet or drawer system where keys are locked and enters a password or scans their fingerprint to gain access. The salesperson then removes the required key, and the system automatically records transaction details such as the salesperson’s name, the date and time, and which key was taken. This information helps salespeople quickly and easily track down a desired key even if it isn't physically in the system. It also gives management an overview of what keys are checked out and who took them.


It goes without saying that when it comes to getting a customer into a vehicle for a test drive, faster is better. Over 60 percent of car buyers have spent nearly 15 hours researching their intended purchase before stepping foot in your dealership, and they don’t want to prolong the buying process by waiting to get into the vehicle they want to test drive.

If your salespeople are forced to use inefficient processes to access keys, both they and your customers become frustrated. And when your customers are dissatisfied, they’ll go straight to your competitors.

On the flip side, when your salespeople are happy and can work more efficiently, they'll provide better service and leave your customers satisfied, impressed and, hopefully, ready to give that 5-star review!